If the household member only has one symptom such as just a runny nose, the other siblings/students can still come to school.
However, most cold illnesses often involve more than just one symptom such as congestion, sore throat, fever, fatigue, headache, cough etc. If this is the case with the ill household member please do NOT send your children to school! Keep everyone in your family home from school and contact your healthcare provider for guidance about what to do next and if they recommend Covid-19 testing in your individual situation.
Please communicate with Nurse Kotek regardless so she is aware of the situation.
You will need to email either a doctor’s note or a Covid-19 PCR result, before being allowed to return to in-person learning.
Our daily screening allows students with 1 symptom-such as a runny nose to come to school. However, if a student needs to change masks multiple times within an hour because their nose continues to drip on their mask, then we ask that you keep them home until their nose is less drippy. Additionally, if your child(ren) cannot wipe their own nose, you might want to keep them home so that the teacher is not continually wiping it for them. The teachers are here to help the children, but having to constantly wipe a very actively runny nose increases the likelihood that the cold germs will spread. While the teachers wash their hands between children, it takes away from other activities if they need to do that even more often.
Congestion makes it more difficult to breath-so please consider how your child(ren) will manage in school if they are congested and have to wear a mask for most of the day. We love having the children in school, but perhaps for the more active period of their cold when their nose is especially runny or they are very congested, you can consider keeping them home. If a child with a cold does come to school but does not seem to be able to manage with their mask, we may ask you to pick them up early.
Close contact is defined by CDC as someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated. The World Health Organization (WHO) additionally includes persons with direct physical contact with a probable or confirmed case, direct care for a patient with probable or confirmed COVID-19 disease without using proper personal, and other situations as indicated by local risk assessments.
Immediately notify Nurse Miriam Kotek. If your child(ren) is/are currently in school please make arrangements to pick them up right away. All “close contacts” within your household will need to stay home and quarantine for 10 days from the time of last exposure to the Covid positive individual. If your child has been in school after knowingly being exposed to a Covid Positive individual we may ask that they get a Covid PCR test done to help guide the school in deciding if their pod needs to close.
If a student or faculty member is exposed to a household member* who tests positive for COVID-19, the student or faculty member will need to complete a 10-day quarantine, beginning the day after their last exposure. In addition, the student or faculty member must take a PCR test no earlier than day 7 of their quarantine and document the negative result with Miriam Kotek before returning to campus.
The positive individual should isolate from the rest of the family. If they are unable to do this, please contact Nurse Miriam Kotek for next steps.
*A household member is anyone who spends a significant amount of time in your house. This includes nannies or other caregivers.
No, secondary exposure is not required to quarantine. Only the person who had direct exposure (otherwise known as a contact) needs to quarantine. However, if the household member who had exposure develops symptoms or tests positive, then the household members would become primary contacts and would then need to quarantine. The same is true for our school pods. If a student’s family member tests positive, the student would be required to quarantine at home but the classmates and teachers in the pod would be secondary contacts and would not need to quarantine. Only if the the student became symptomatic or tested positive for Covid-19 would the pod need to quarantine.
Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Quarantine helps prevent spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms. People in quarantine should stay home, separate themselves from others, monitor their health, and follow directions from their state or local health department.”
When we ask for students to quarantine, we understand that it is difficult to keep children away from other household members. Quarantine means not leaving the house-unless it’s for the purpose of accessing healthcare. If parents need to quarantine, they may not drive carpool or have close contact with others outside their household. We ask that those students instructed to quarantine remain home and not have playdates with others. As best as you can, try to keep them away from their siblings who are not in quarantine-but they do not need to be locked in a separate room. Often the quarantine will just be for a few days while we await test results for other students or staff in the affected pod. However, there may be times when the quarantine will be for a full 10 days if there is a confirmed positive case in the pod. One cannot get a negative test to “test themselves out of quarantine” and lift restrictions/return to school at an earlier than specified date. While in quarantine, please monitor your child for symptoms, consult with your doctor if any symptoms should develop and notify Nurse Kotek if your pediatrician is concerned for a possible covid-like illness and/or is recommending covid testing.
Isolation is used to separate people infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, from people who are not infected. People who are in isolation should stay home until it’s safe for them to be around others. In the home, anyone sick or infected should separate themselves from others by staying in a specific “sick room” or area and using a separate bathroom (if available).”
Obviously, for small children-this might not be possible as they need to be cared for by an adult. Isolation is typically a 10 day period of time from the onset of symptoms, during which time the child is considered contagious. The caregiver should wear a mask (as well as the child when awake-if possible), attempt to keep a 6 foot distance as much as possible, frequently clean commonly touched surfaces and wash hands and limit contact as much as possible. The caregiver and other household members will need to quarantine for an additional 10 days after their last contact with the child in isolation (the caregiver’s quarantine will be a total of 24 days-the 10 days that they are in contact with their child in isolation plus 10 full days after that exposure). If the caregiver or any other household member starts to show signs or have symptoms of covid-like illness, then they should contact their health care provider for further instructions regarding testing and isolation. While in isolation, please keep Nurse Kotek informed of your situation and update as necessary so we can help guide you as to when your family is cleared to return to school.
You will need to stay home and quarantine until the Covid PCR results return. If you receive a rapid negative Covid test results sooner, you still need to quarantine until the Covid PCR result returns.
Berman only accepts Covid PCR test results at this time. If you/anyone in your household had testing done due to having covid-like symptoms, possible exposure, travel, hosting out of town guests etc. you will need to immediately notify Nurse Kotek of your intent to test/pending test and send a copy of the Covid PCR results to Nurse Miriam Kotek once you receive them. Only once these results are reviewed by Nurse Miriam Kotek will you be allowed to return to campus.
Rapid Covid tests are not as reliable and their use is NOT recommended by our school Medical Task Force as a substitute for the Covid PCR test.
Antibody or Covid blood tests are only useful in telling you if you may have been infected with Covid in the past. Maintaining appropriate Covid precautions such as masking, social distancing and obtaining Covid PCR testing etc. when necessary are still required for those who had Covid already.
Past Covid PCR testing only reveals if the individual tested had a detectable Covid infection on the specific day that the test was performed.
Anyone who has new Covid-like symptoms is recommended to follow up with their doctor to determine if, in their specific situation, Covid PCR testing is recommended.
If one chooses not to follow up with a doctor but they are experiencing new covid-like symptoms we ask that you follow up with Nurse Miriam Kotek before returning to school. The symptomatic individual will possibly need to get Covid PCR testing or quarantine at home for 10 days from onset of symptoms.
Below are suggested sites for testing but there are many other places that do PCR testing and those locations are acceptable as well. For faster results, the first two places listed below claim to have 24 hour turnaround times for their PCR test results but please check with them first regarding insurance and payment.
Institute for Asthma and Allergy does testing for current patients of their practice. They may also do a brief exam prior to testing but it’s possible that they will meet you outside to do the test and only bill for the test and not an examination as well. 301-962-5800
Capital Diagnostics is located in Laurel, MD.
Montgomery County Health Department does testing that is free of charge (they submit to insurance but if it’s not covered, the county covers the cost) and takes 3-4 days to get results. Their locations for testing changes daily. Here is the link to their testing site schedule: https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/covid19/testing.html
PM Pediatrics locations do PCR testing as well on anyone up to the age of 27. If a parent that is older than 27 accompanies their child who is getting tested, they will test the parent as well if desired. They usually perform an examination prior to doing the testing and it will get billed through your insurance. There are several locations but here is a link to the Rockville location: https://pmpediatrics.com/location/pm-pediatrics-rockville/
Quality First Urgent Care in Burtonsville has drive through testing that is also billed through insurance: https://quality1urgentcare.com/
For Baltimore Families:
Hatzalah of Baltimore does PCR testing in the evenings and has a result turnaround time of 24-48 hours. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or go to https://hatzalahbaltimore.org/covid/ Another place for this testing is https://www.baltimorejewishlife.com
JCovid also has information about Covid testing sites: https://jcovid.com/covid-positive/
For information about Baltimore City testing: https://coronavirus.baltimorecity.gov/where-get-tested-covid-19-baltimore-city
For information about free Baltimore County testing:
If you decline Covid testing, you will need to notify Nurse Kotek so she is aware of the situation and can inform you on when you and other members of your household will be allowed back on campus based on the presumed period of possible infectiousness.
When necessary it is very helpful for Covid testing to always be performed when deemed necessary by a doctor as this allows the school the ability to better inform decisions about the need to shut down pods or quarantine certain individuals who may have been exposed. Even if you feel it is unlikely that you have Covid or were exposed to Covid, we need to take these necessary precautions in order to safeguard all members of our school and community.
Given that numbers continue to rise across the country, and almost all states are red, we are still strongly discouraging travel at this time. However, we also know that high-risk and low-risk behaviors can take place no matter the zip code. With this in mind, and in consultation with our Medical Task Force, we are amending our policies to focus on activities, rather than location.
It is our expectation that all Berman community members adhere to the below actions, no matter their location.
*Nannies and other caregivers who spend a significant amount of time in your home are considered household members. Household members do not include family members who live outside your household.